Green Event Guide

Do More, Use Less - Your Guide to Hosting Green Events


Planning a fantastic event? Make sure you keep it green by following these sustainable tips and alternatives so your events leave a lasting impact on your attendees and not on the planet.

Image of Map and Location Pin


When picking the location for your event consider:


Opt for event locations with easy access to public transportation, biking, or walking paths, and promote carpooling and ride-sharing to and from events.


Maximize natural light in event spaces to save energy. Consider outdoor event venues whenever possible.

Virtual Attendance

Offer virtual attendance options to avoid greenhouse gas emissions related to travel.

Open Letter


Avoid paper waste by sending invites through social media, eventbrite, or email.

Fork, spoon, and two leaves symbolizing "eating green"


When ordering food for your event:

Reduce Food Waste

Only order the necessary amount of food to reduce potential waste, and work with the Office of Sustainability to compost waste and to give away any leftover food.

Request composting and food recovery services at your event.

Go Plant-Based!

The GW Office of Sustainability follows the principles of Greener by Default when hosting events. Offering plant-based meals as the default can reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to food up to 40%, and promotes inclusivity for people with a variety of dietary needs.


Shirt and tote bag with stars on them

Giveaways and Merch

Gift Experiences

Avoid giveaways that will end up in the trash by gifting experiences as prizes.

Choose socially responsible items

If merchandise is essential, opt for environmentally and socially responsible items such as reusable bags, water bottles, or apparel made from sustainable materials. Choose items with specific and practical usefulness for the intended recipients.


Flower vase


When picking decorations for your event, remember to:

Go Natural

Avoid plastic decorations and opt for seasonal and natural elements instead. Consider potted plants or living centerpieces that can be repurposed after the event.

Not able to use plants or flowers? Opt for decorations you are more likely to reuse in the future. 

Shop Local

Purchase decorations from small local businesses instead of big box stores. Opt for decorations that can be reused for future events.


Trash can


To avoid waste at your event: 

Say no to Plastic!

Consistent with GW policy, GW funds should not be used to purchase single-use plastics such as plastic bottled water. Instead, provide water pitchers and paper cups, and encourage attendees to bring their own reusable water bottle. Provide condiments or coffee fixings in bulk containers instead of single-use plastic packets.

Think Reusable & Compostable

Opt for reusable or compostable cutlery and serving utensils. Ensure recycling, landfill, and compost bins are available and clearly labeled.

Go Paperless

Share reference materials digitally instead of printing individual copies


Need additional resources? The Office of Sustainability has more information to help you join GW's commitment to eliminate single-use plastics from campus during your events.